These Life-Size Gingerbread Houses Are Over-The-Top
Amid the trees and lights and elves this season is another stand-out decoration not to miss. Many hotels across the country painstakingly craft and create life-size gingerbread houses (or ships, or villages!) that wow guests and visitors. These impressive displays take hours of construction and (literally) tons of ingredients. The final result? A super-sweet creation for a festive family outing.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island | Amelia Island, FL

This holiday season, the World’s Largest Gingerbread Pirate Ship returns to the Lobby at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. This culinary masterpiece is made with over 600 pieces of gingerbread and adorned with sculpted pirates with colorful fondant clothing and a chocolate cannon and cannonballs. The "S.S. Amelia Gingerbread Pirate Ship," which undoubtedly makes the perfect backdrop for this year’s holiday photo, will be on display from the end of November until the end of December.

Great Wolf Lodge | 17 U.S. Locations

Walk in a winter wonderland at Great Wolf Lodge, North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts with 17 locations across North America, where families can soak up the holiday spirit, splash in the 84-degree indoor water park and enjoy the most magical gift of all - time together. Snowland favorites continue this year including daily snow showers in the lobby but the centerpiece of the decorations is the life-sized Gingerbread House constructed from more than 600 pounds of gingerbread dough, 1,300 pounds of sugar and hundreds of candies. For a truly delectable experience, guests can also dine in the life-sized gingerbread house with a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House.

Rancho Bernardo Inn | San Diego, CA

Located in North County San Diego, Rancho Bernardo Inn is full of Christmas cheer, and there's never a dull moment during the holidays! Guests and locals can enjoy the Inn’s December Days & Nights celebrate for two nights at the end of December with caroling, photos with Santa, cookie decorating for kids, storytelling, exploring Christmas Tree Row (approx. 8 full size christmas trees decorated to the hilt), an outdoor christmas light show, a life-size gingerbread house constructed in the lobby, housemade by Pastry Chef Margaret Carvallo, festive refreshments and more! It took 4,092 pounds of ingredients to create this masterpiece.

Keystone Lodge & Spa | Keystone, CO

Each holiday, the pastry team at Keystone Lodge & Spa handcrafts “The Chocolate Village,” now a holiday tradition that has been around for almost 20 years.  Using 7,000 pounds of chocolate, the picturesque quaint alpine village takes shape featuring a working chocolate gondola, cascading chocolate waterfall (made from five gallons of milk chocolate fed through a pump inside the chocolate mountain), chocolate trains that move on tracks, a six-foot tall, 650-pound white chocolate Christmas tree detailed with chocolate presents, and more. The spectacular display will be showcased December 5, 2018– January 1, 2019.

Omni Grove Park Inn | Asheville, NC

Sugar, spice and everything nice are at the heart of Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville. From Nov. 25–Jan. 4 guests and locals alike are invited to admire the edible architecture with some of the most delectable houses on the market.

Willard InterContinental | Washington, D.C.

Every year, the Willard’s pastry department work to create a gingerbread display that pays tribute to an iconic landmark around the nation’s capital. This year their display honors Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia. Spearheaded by Jason Jimenez (Executive Pastry Chef), Magenta Livengood (Pastry Cook), and David Sanabria (Engineer), and assisted by four others on the pastry team, the design of the gingerbread display began in late September, with construction beginning in November.  Taking over 350 hours, this display weighs nearly 400 lbs. and contains over 100 LED lights, 30 ft. of electrical wire, 306 pieces of gingerbread and 30 lbs. of fondant (for the airport's three runways). It even includes a real-time live audio feed from the control tower at DCA. Twenty-two planes are visible on the display, representing all 8 airlines that fly into the airport. Air Force One hangs above the display as it does a fly-over on its way to Andrews Air Force Base.

The St. Regis New York |  New York, NY

Enjoy all of its magic this holiday season for the second annual St. Regis Gingerbread Workshop. Enjoy an elegant tea service with family-friendly offerings served alongside homemade hot chocolate and warm apple cider, while decorating a gingerbread masterpiece. Available December 15th, 22nd and 23rd at 1pm.

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa  | Savannah, Georgia

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa and the Savannah Harbor Foundation kicked off the holiday season with the 18th Annual Gingerbread Competition. Locals and guests alike are invited to visit this spectacular show which is now on display in the resort lobby through late December.

Another way to celebrate the holidays? Take a ride on a Christmas-y train.